Monthly Archives: January 2013

Blocking the Window Seat

Some people don’t grasp the fact that public transportation is for the public. That means lots of people ride it and everyone has to deal with each other. There are certain rules and customs that people abide by so that they don’t kill anyone. For example you shouldn’t sit in the aisle seat if there’s nobody in the window seat. The first person to sit down in each row should take the window seat. You’re an asshole if you’re blocking the window seat. You’re trying to keep personal space for your selfish self at the expense of the little old lady who is now forced to stand. You’re not making things any more convenient for yourself either. If the bus is crowded someone will tap you on the shoulder and ask to sit down. And you’ll have to get up and move when they do. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting there because your stop is coming up. Get up and wait by the fucking exit then. There’s no excuse for blocking the window seat. It’s even worse to sit in the window seat and block the aisle seat.  You’re just an asshole. Accept it or change your ways.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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It’s Spider-Man

Who is your favorite Marvel character (that’s not in the X-Men)? If you said Spiderman, you are wrong. If you still insist that it’s Spiderman, you are still wrong. You can’t be a Spiderman fan if there is no Spiderman. That’s because it’s Spider-Man. Peter Parker is Spider-Man. That’s the name of the character that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created and named. It’s Spider-Man. Not Spiderman. It’s not his last name. If you respect the character, you’ll respect the hyphen.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

The Amazing Spider-Man wallpaper

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Rockstar Energy Cola

You know that you need caffeine but can’t decide between an energy drink or a soda. That’s when you should grab a Rockstar Energy Cola. It’s a cola with extra energy. Look for the black label. It’s not as good as Coke obviously, but it’s better than Jolt or other similar amped-up colas. There’s no weird aftertaste or any other weird drawbacks. In fact it’s better than water and you can live off of it without any adverse health effects. It even reverses the aging process and can bring dead houseplants back to life.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Peering Out From Your Blinds

I have a room with a window that overlooks a fairly busy street. I live in a major city, I’m right by an intersection, there’s a bus stop… sometimes shit happens. And when it does, I’m not above gawking. But nobody wants to be caught staring so you have to be discrete. Peering out from your blinds is the way to go. Venetian blinds are ideal for people watching. That’s probably why they are so common. The next time that you’re waiting at the bus stop, look around and see if anybody is watching you. I guarantee that someone is looking at you from behind some blinds somewhere.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bookmarks

Not so long ago, before the arrival of Kindles and Nooks, there were real books. Real books had real pages made out of real paper. If somebody had to stop reading, they would put a bookmark in the spot where they left off. It was a great way to remember where you were in the story. They are called bookmarks because they marked your place in the book. Bookmarks used to be real physical objects, made from paper, cloth, leather, or some crappy art project a 5-year-old made. Now bookmarks are all electronic and you use them to save your favorite porn sites on the Internet. That’s progress.

Critically Rated at 9/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Waiting… (film)

Waiting… is an independent comedy written and directed by Rob McKittrick. It centers on a day in the life of a group of servers working at Shenaniganz (your stereotypical corporate restaurant like Chili’s or Applebee’s). Ryan Reynolds and Justin Long star as two servers that are stuck in a rut and working the dinner shift.

The film explores all the stereotypes of servers. Dean (Justin Long) feels trapped and doesn’t want to spend his life waiting tables. Monty (Ryan Reynolds) has accepted his fate and embraces his future with the restaurant. There’s the bitchy waitress who has been there way too long and the shy trainee. There’s the lesbian bartender and sexy young hostess. There’s the stupid manager who doesn’t know how to manage. There are the lazy bussers, horny Mexican chef, and angry white cook. You recognize all these people if you’ve ever worked in the service industry.

Waiting… could be a documentary. That’s pretty much what it’s like working at a corporate restaurant. Your coworkers are all your friends. You have fun and bullshit your way through each shift before partying with everyone after work. Except for the excessive food-dropping and genital flashing, everything is pretty accurate. It’s a funny movie no matter what, but it’s even better if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant. It should be mandatory viewing for anyone in the service industry. If you’ve seen this movie, you’ve seen my life.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Häagen-Dazs Green Tea Ice Cream

Häagen-Dazs has a lot of premium ice creams and Green Tea Ice Cream is one of them. Not only is it all natural but they also use Matcha green tea, which apparently is good stuff. Green tea ice cream is an oxymoron. How can you make a hot beverage into a cold dessert? And isn’t green tea herbal and ice cream dairy? What the hell is going on? But it works and it’s delicious. It might take a moment to get used to it, and it will never replace Vanilla, but it’s still worth getting. Me likey.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Sandman: The Wake

All good things must come to an end. The Wake is the tenth and final volume of The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. There are other comics about Death and his unusual siblings so there’s a lot more Sandman mythology to explore, but the main story ends here.

The first three issues are about the funeral and wake for our old pal Morpheus. While Daniel is trying to settle into his new role as Dream of the Endless, everyone is trying to come to grips with the fact that Morpheus is gone and what that means. The other issues are stand-alone stories about how Morpheus affected a few mortal dreamers. There’s a follow-up on Hob Gadling, the guy who refuses to die. There’s a story about an exiled Chinese dude nearing the end of his life. And it all concludes with William Shakespeare completing his pact with Morpheus by writing his final play for him.

Reading The Sandman is a pretty daunting task. 75 issues spread over 10 volumes is a lot. You feel like you accomplished something when you’ve read all of it. And then you want to find someone else who has read it so that you can talk about it. You want to share it with somebody. You want everybody to know that The Sandman is fantastic; that it’s deep and rich and amazing, that they should have fucking own it and read it once a year. You can’t keep good literature to yourself, that’s just selfish.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Dogs That Bark at Skateboards

I was just skating casually down the sidewalk when a small dog went crazy and barking its head off. Like howling and yipping and trying to attack me. I wasn’t even close to it; I was on the other side of the street. I don’t get dogs that bark at skateboards. I’ve had dogs. I’ve had skateboards. None of my dogs ever went nuts because of a board with wheels. Skateboards aren’t any louder than cars. They are no more intimidating than Roller Blades. Some dogs even fucking ride skateboards. I’m going to have to put this on bad training. A dog should be used to skateboards, bikes, cars, scooters… you know, common methods of transportation. Most dogs are well behaved, but if a skateboard freaks out your dog then you’re probably not taking him outside enough. You are a terrible person.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Edibles

Why smoke weed when you can eat it? Edibles are culinary cannabis creations that get you high. You can buy premade treats from a dispensary or find appetizing recipes online. You can make almost anything magical: cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, pasta, dressing, butter, chocolate, etc. You can even improve bacon. Edibles have endless opportunities but smoking weed is more fun. I like rolling it or packing a bowl, I like sparking the lighter, I like taking a hit and holding it in… I like the whole ritual of it all. But edibles are delicious and discrete. You can eat them in plain sight, you can take them on planes, into movies and concerts and get your stoned on without bothering anyone with smoke. They’re called magic brownies for a reason: not only is the brownie delicious but it also gets you stoned. How magical is that?

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Skittles Original, Now with Green Apple

I know I’ve written about Skittles before, but now there’s a new flavor: Green Apple. It’s green and it tastes like a sour Granny Smith green apple. They had to get rid of the Lime flavor to make room for it. They can’t have two green ones in the same bag, that would be ludicrous. It tastes good, but I’m kind of peeved. I didn’t know that there was an Anti-Lime Skittle movement. Why didn’t they get rid of Grape? If you’ve been looking for an excuse to buy candy, a new flavor Skittle is perfectly valid. What an exciting time to be alive.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Hot Shots! (film)

Jim Abrahams (Airplane!) directs this Top Gun parody starring Charlie Sheen, Cary Elwes, Lloyd Bridges, Jon Cryer, Kevin Dunn, and Valeria Golino. This was made back in the days when parody films were actually smart and clever, before it devolved into shit like Epic Movie and Vampires Suck. You have to respect the source material if you’re going to make a funny parody. You can’t just slap scenes and gags together to lengthen the film’s running time.

Hot Shots! actually has a plot. Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) is a top Navy pilot with some daddy issues. He’s a natural pilot but is self-destructive, something that his therapist/love interest (Valeria Golino) tries to help him with. Cary Elwes plays a rival pilot feuding with Topper. His future Two and a Half Men co-star Jon Cryer also plays a fellow pilot and Kristy Swanson walks around in a bra, which is nice.

Even though this is a parody, it’s still a pretty solid film. It has a real plot, the characters actually develop, and the end result is an 83% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Compare that to the 2% and 4% rating for Epic Movie and Vampires Suck. There is a joke or a gag every few seconds and most of them are hysterical. But there is also continuity to the jokes. When Lloyd Bridges spits pudding on Kevin Dunn’s face, the pudding stays on his face until he wipes it away. There is a Chihuahua that has the unfortunate habit of getting sat on. The funniest jokes are reoccurring ones.

Charlie Sheen carries the picture. He’s kind of like a younger Leslie Nielsen: they are both comedic actors, but they aren’t really comedians. They both have a deadpan delivery while doing the absurd. Hot Shots! isn’t as funny as Airplane!, but that’s a tough act to follow.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Holding Your Breath When You Drive Through a Tunnel

Some people are in the habit of holding their breath when they drive through a tunnel. I know this because I am one of them. I’ve done it ever since I was a kid. It’s a custom that’s been passed down for generations. When I asked why, I was told it was an emergency air supply if the tunnel suddenly collapsed. It seemed reasonable at the time so I never questioned it and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s better to hold your breath when you’re the passenger. You can get lightheaded and that’s not so bueno if you’re driving. Once you’ve made it through the tunnel successfully, you get to make a wish. That’s your reward for surviving the trip. Use it wisely.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Rice Cooker

A rice cooker is a kitchen appliance that cooks rice. Rice is already pretty easy to make but a rice cooker makes it even simpler. Throw the uncooked rice into the machine, add water, hit a button and walk away. You’ll have a bunch of rice in twenty minutes. A cup of uncooked rice will make a cup and half of cooked rice. That’s the good kind of inflation. The kind that gives you more food. Rice cookers are also easy to clean, but you can always toss out the old rice and start a new batch if you’re feeling lazy. That’s the authentic way.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Root Canal

Sorry to rock your world, but there’s shit inside your teeth that can become infected and fucking kill you. Inside each tooth there is pulp, a soft tissue composed of nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue, and fun stuff like that. If the pulp gets infected than you need to get a root canal. That’s where the dentist drills into your tooth, scrapes out all the pulp, cleans the inside of your tooth, fills it up, and tops it with a crown. It’s a relatively painless procedure, other than getting jabbed and stabbed with needles to numb the area. It’s also kind of expensive because BMWs aren’t cheap and the dentist needs to get around somehow.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Time Slows Down When You Pass a Blunt

Have you ever noticed that time slows down when you pass a blunt? You’re stoned and rambling on about something while you puff and puff until it’s time to pass. You shut up and slowly and carefully transfer it from your hand to the his, taking extreme precautions to avoid the sin of dropping the blunt. Time seems to slow down and stretch out. If you weren’t so preoccupied with the blunt you would be able to see each individual wingbeat of hummingbird in flight. It’s similar to an athlete being in the zone, when you’re in that perfect state of consciousness and you’re only focused on the task at hand. In this case, passing a blunt.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 is the second installment of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. It’s among the best superhero movies to date, both critically and commercially. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco all reprise their roles and Alfred Molina joins the cast as Dr. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus. The film is about Peter Parker struggling to juggle his responsibilities as Peter Parker and as Spider-Man. He’s got relationship problems, a friendship on the rocks, and a crazy villain to deal with.

The first Spider-Man movie was pretty good. It was a decent origin story about a fun character with serviceable action scenes, but the sequel takes Spidey to new heights. It does everything that you want a sequel to do: the story is more interesting, it references the original, there’s more action and more elaborate special effects. You don’t have to introduce the main characters; you can just jump right into the story and have fun.

My biggest gripe with the movie is that Doc Ock can take an awful lot of punches. His mechanical limbs don’t give him super strength. I’m pretty sure that Spider-Man’s punch would shatter his skull. He’s still the best villain in the series though, even with Alfred Molina’s saggy man tits. The subway sequence was almost too awesome and exhilarating. It made the climax look lame by comparison. And something about Kirsten Dunst repulses me slightly.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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